Day: January 10, 2016

Sunday, 10 January 2016

11:06 – We made a trip down to Winston yesterday, where we met Frances and Al. Between the Trooper and Al’s F-150, we hauled quite a bit back up. Frances and Al couldn’t stay overnight last night, because he had to meet with one of his home health care clients this morning. I was looking forward to them spending the night here, but the important thing is that they know how to get here and that they’re welcome to stay with us indefinitely if things ever get really bad in Winston. Not that I’m really expecting things to get that bad anytime soon, but one never knows. I’m old enough to remember the rioting and cities burning in the 60’s, and the threat of violent civil unrest is much greater now than it was then. Also, in the 60’s a major long-term power grid down situation wasn’t really of much concern, while nowadays it’s a very real and potentially catastrophic possibility.

Long email from Jen about the results of their trial run over the long New Years weekend. She could probably have summed up what they learn with a short phrase: “Try it before you depend on it.” For example, although they have lots of stored propane and multiple propane Coleman stoves, they wanted to simulate running out of propane during a long emergency, so they did all of their cooking on the woodstove. Not, as it turns out, as easy as everyone thought it would be. Similarly, their electric power was down, so the well pump was non-functional. They ended up hauling water from the pond in 5-gallon buckets, and purifying the water they were using for drinking and cooking. But, as Jen said, flushing toilets takes a LOT of water, and water isn’t light. And, although Jen has toilets in her home that use 1.6 gallons per flush, the friends to whose home they’d “bugged out” have older, standard toilets that use 3.5 gallons per flush. Or, as Jen put it, about 29 pounds per flush. They quickly began enforcing the no-flush-for-just-urine rule, which Jen said was pretty hard for some of them to get used to, particularly the women.

Jen said her main takeaway from this trial run was to test EVERYTHING before it mattered. She even found herself eying their Sawyer SP191 PointZeroTwo absolute water filter and thinking about unpacking it and trying it. I’d advised her to keep it unopened on the shelf if there was even a chance that it’d ever freeze because freezing destroys the filter if it’s ever had water in it. She said she’d eventually decided not to use the SP191, but she did order a second one from Amazon to serve as a spare. At about $125, it’s cheap insurance. That one will stay on the shelf. She’s going to pull out some 5-gallon pails and assemble the first one, but not run any water through it.


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